Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Truth the first casualty in the War Against Coal

By Graham Young - posted Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Advocacy is core business for think tanks, but when does advocacy become propaganda? When the think tank is the grandly named Australia Institute, is one answer.

The latest episode in False and Misleading from the "Institute" is the claim that the Queensland government receives more in motor vehicle registration and traffic fines than it does in coal royalties.

They've been making variations on this claim for at least 2 years. The first variation appeared in New Matilda, on June 17, 2016 saying that in 2015/16:


… And the winner was….

Car rego by $1.632 billion to 1.594 billion! Well done, drivers. Better luck next year, miners.

But the figure is wrong. Alert readers will realise that no one knew what the real figures were on June 17 because there were still 13 days left in the financial year – these were just budget estimates.

When the final figures were compiled coal royalties were actually $1.705 billion and rego $1.633.

But the AI couldn't let go the comparison, so they've continued to develop it even as the inaccuracies have escalated.

The 2015/2016 financial year was a bit of a cherry-pick, with coal prices near their most recent bottom. In 2016/17 coal royalties roared ahead and were $3.405 billion, and the estimated actual for 2017/18 is $3.768.

Motor vehicle registration is a steady accumulator, increasing to 1.681 in 2016/17 and 1.755 estimated actual for 2017/18.


As the ratio has moved against it the AI has adjusted its claim by rolling in vehicle related expenses like speeding fines with Director Richard Dennis telling ABC's Steve Austin"the Queensland government collects more revenue from car registrations and speeding fines than it does from the royalties from the coal in Queensland" (2:13:50). But as the table shows, there is no factual basis even for this bulked-up assertion, even using the most generous version of the story and including the stamp duty on registration along with the registration and every fine the state of Queensland collects.

Why do they like this lie? I guess they think most people don't realise how substantial a contributor to state revenue car related expenses can be, so this is one way of making it sound like coal royalties don't matter that much.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

This article was first published by The Spectator.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

8 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Graham Young

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Graham Young
Article Tools
Comment 8 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy